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The AICP Exam

The American Institute of Certified Planners Exam

Brent Thomas

March 2, 2020

The American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) is the American Planning Association's (APA) professional institute that provides the only nationwide, independent verification of planners' qualifications.


AICP certification is known to enhance one's standing and reputation with coworkers, public officials, project collaborators, and the public by indicating that the planner has the academic qualifications, relevant work experience, and proper skillset necessary to serve a community effectively.


AICP-certified planners have verified their academic and professional abilities by passing this rigorous and comprehensive examination, and to keep their skills sharp and up to date, they have the opportunity to continue a pursuit of advanced professional education with the help of the certification maintenance program.


Students and graduates of Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) accredited programs also have the opportunity to distinguish themselves from their peers with the AICP Candidate Pilot Program. This program allows one to take the exam prior to earning professional planning experience, and get career advice and guidance from an AICP mentor and network with the planning community at local and national events in the meantime.

Recent AICP Certifications

Two ms employees, Ryan Bush, PE, AICP, and Jen Howdyshell, PE, AICP, recently passed their AICP exam and are now AICP-certified. Here’s what Jen had to say about the experience:


“Ryan and I both took the AICP exam in May. Studying for the AICP exam reminded me a lot of being in grad school and I wish the candidate pilot program had been available then, as it would be much easier to take the test immediately after school versus waiting 7+ years.


In my career, I am a transportation planner only. However, the field of planning is very diverse and the exam reflects that. It was great taking the test with a co-worker as we were able to study together. We found it very helpful to talk out the history and law questions together and develop mnemonic devices to remember certain things.


I am very glad to be done with the test!”


The exam is certainly no easy feat but as the saying goes, nothing good comes easy. Registration for the next exam is now open! If you are interested in taking your planning career to the next level and want to take the exam or learn more about it, head over to the APA’s website for more information.

Need a Planner?

ms has you covered! Ryan and Jen join our other AICP-staff, including urban planners. Our planners can help improve your community and local area.


We blend our expertise in planning, architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, and economics to create sustainable communities that connect people with places, movement with the static environment, and nature with architecture.


Contact us at to find out more.